In an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in FCC v. Fox, we joined Public Knowledge, the Cato Institute, the Center for Democracy & Technology, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in asking the Court to recognize that advances in technology have made obsolete the current television indecency standards, based on the decision in the 1978 “Seven Dirty Words” case (FCC v. Pacifica). The First Amendment, we argued, should protect all media equally. Mentioned in Hillicon Valley , Ars Technica , The Hollywood Reporter , etc.
TechFreedom joined an ideologically diverse coalition of public interest groups in a letter voicing concerns about H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). TechFreedom’s Larry Downes explained his reservations in a statement about the bill and, earlier, at a Congressional Internet Caucus briefing last event last week featuring both sides of the issue. We are, of course, strong believers in property rights, and are serious about enforcing copyrights and trademarks. But we fear SOPA would come at too high a cost to lawful Internet expression and communication. As explained in the letter, SOPA would, as drafted, lead to years of costly litigation, creating potentially massive regulatory uncertainty for one of America’s most innovative wealth creating sectors. Mentioned in PCWorld , CATO-at-Liberty , SiliconRepublic , etc.
Emergency Alert System Failure (Daily Caller)
The first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System was conducted last week but excluded cell phones. “The current system,” Adam Marcus explained, “ only works on radio and television stations—as if it were still 1997 and cell phones were rare.” Adam decried the test as exemplifying “first responders’ antiquated notions of centralized command-and-control networks.” Instead, he argued “FEMA should design emergency communications systems that take advantage of the centrality of cell phones in our lives. … [C]ommercial cellular networks can meet the needs of first responders. … What’s missing is a public awareness-building campaign akin to ‘Only you can prevent forest fires!’ The message should be simple: ‘Wait 20, save a life!’”